“I just became lethargic and would lie on the couch all day and that just wasn’t me. I also developed a lot of fluid in my abdomen”, she recalled.
Anita’s doctor sent her to see a specialist and it was there that she learned she had contracted Hepatitis C and would need a liver transplant if she was going to survive.
“I was stunned. The doctor explained that I probably contracted it from a blood transfusion I received in the late 60’s when I had a surgical procedure. Back then they didn’t check the blood like they do now. I remember that I left the doctors office, sat in my car and cried.”
With the support of her 2 grown sons and extended family Anita began the lengthy testing process at UK in order to be considered for the organ donor waiting list.
“I was finally put on the list in mid June and then a miracle happened. A donor liver became available and I was a tissue match. I received my transplant 15 days later. I was one of the lucky ones.”
At 7 a.m. on June 27th Anita underwent the 13 hour surgery that would give her back her life.
“Now I do a lot of volunteering. I’m treasurer of the diabetes coalition in Franklin County and I help the Trust For Life and the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates [KODA] at their education events. I’ve also helped KODA with a cookbook fundraising project. We’ve compiled two cookbooks so far and now we are now working on our third one.”
Anita knows she owes it all to her donor. She wrote to her donor’s family several times through the anonymous program sponsored by the organ procurement organization.
“I just wanted to thank them and let them know how appreciative I am and how when I wake up every morning I thank God they donated their loved one’s organs.”
Today Anita is looking forward to continuing her volunteer work and seeing the birth of her first great granddaughter.
“I’m so happy to be alive. I love life. Even though age creeps up on you I still do a lot of things!”, she said enthusiastically with a smile